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Meta Announces New Training and Support Resources for Female-Owned Businesses



Meta Announces New Training and Support Resources for Female-Owned Businesses

Meta has announced some new support measures for female-led businesses, which have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, as well as new education resources to help female entrepreneurs navigate into the next stage of post-pandemic recovery.

The announcement comes as part of a broader push for International Women’s Month, and includes a range of free insights to help women business owners succeed.

As explained by Meta:

“We’re expanding out #SheMeansBusiness program in North America to address an ongoing financial literacy gap we see between women and men. Beginning this month, anyone can sharpen their financial acumen for free with new trainings led by financial expert, Lauren Washington. Modules range from business financial basics to assessing financial health and will be rolling out on an ongoing basis throughout the year.”

Meta launched its #SheMeansBusiness program last year, as part of its broader COVID response measures, which it’s continued to build on ever since. This new update will provide even more ways for women entrepreneurs to glean free insights, while it will also highlight Meta-specific training to help boost your social media marketing performance.  

In addition to this, Meta is also launching a new ‘MentHERship’ video series, which will provide expert tips from women business leaders, and will expand on the existing video resources available on the #SheMeansBusiness mini-site.

Meta has also launched a new, 34-page cultural guide, which provides insights into the challenges and opportunities for women in business, along with tips and notes on how to maximize success.

Meta women led business guide

As noted, female-led businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, with Meta’s latest State of Small Business report showing that closure rates for women-owned businesses have risen by 6% since July 2021, compared to little to no change from male-led counterparts.

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“In the US, nearly a quarter (24%) of US women-led small businesses were not operational at the time of survey, compared to 18% of male-led small businesses.”

Meta State of Small Business stats

Given this, Meta’s International Women’s Month push couldn’t come at a better time, and if you’re looking for tips and insights, it’s worth checking out the dedicated platform for its various initiatives.  

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Meta Announces WhatsApp Cloud API to Provide Hosting Support for SMBs



Meta Announces WhatsApp Cloud API to Provide Hosting Support for SMBs

After previewing the option back in 2020, today, at its first-ever ‘Conversations’ messaging conference, Meta has announced that it’s launching the WhatsApp Cloud API, which will provide free, secure cloud hosting services for businesses.

As it sounds, the WhatsApp Cloud API will essentially host your conversation data on Meta’s servers, which will improve connection and speed, but will come with a degree of privacy trade-off.

The main benefits will be improved speed in messaging response, while it’ll also help to eliminate server expenses, which could be a big benefit to smaller businesses, in particular. It’ll also facilitate faster access to new WhatsApp business features as they become available.

The downside is that it will mean more reliance on Meta, while you’ll also need to dilute WhatsApp’s messaging security measures:

As Meta described in its original announcement:

If a business chooses to use a third-party vendor to operate the WhatsApp Business API on their behalf, we do not consider that to be end-to-end encrypted since the business you are messaging has chosen to give a third-party vendor access to those messages. This will also be the case if that third-party vendor is Facebook.”

As such, WhatsApp will include new notifications on consumer-to-business exchanges conducted through Meta hosting.

WhatsApp message prompts

How you feel about such trade-offs will come down to your personal perspective, but the offering could be highly valuable for smaller businesses looking to build out their tech stack, without having to sign on to a third-party hosting vendor, or buy their own hardware.

But again, that does also mean increasing your reliance on Meta, which has notoriously changed the rules on businesses in the past, leaving many in the lurch.

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The real benefit, however, will likely be in developing regions, where WhatsApp is the dominant messaging platform, and many small businesses are looking for ways to maximize their reach and transactions in-app. If Meta can assist them in building their business, that could be a big step in making WhatsApp a more critical utility, for many more users, while also, eventually, providing a direct revenue pathway for the messaging platform.

Though it does feel like a bit of a honey trap. Meta has already flagged that it will eventually introduce charges for these additional elements, without specifically outlining what those costs will be. Once businesses are reliant on such, it’ll be too late to back out, and Meta could ensnare them via incremental increases, that may eventually become a big earner for the company.

On another front, Meta also announced Recurring Notifications on Messenger, which will enable businesses to re-engage people within a messaging thread. The feature is only available to premium users at present, which doesn’t cost more to be part of right now, but will in future as Meta looks to incorporate new charges for its messaging and hosting tools.

You can check out replays of the Conversations conference presentations here.

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